(new edit: please see bottom post for using the FPV along with numeric readout)
(past edit: please see comments in post near the bottom about targeting AOA numbers; but it still follows this first part, thanks!)
I just noticed that AOA can now be set at the bottom of the screen. New to the update, or I missed it before?
For step climbs this is what I (currently) believe is true:
You can optimally control your step climb using AOA as your reference instrument.
The ceiling of each of your steps is, subject to your throttle limits, where you’re just on the edge of not being able to hold AOA = AOAe. AOAe is the angle that gives you best aerodynamic efficiency for all phases of flight.
So how do you maneuverer AOA to target AOAe with your throttle set at the limits (for that phase of flight)? You slowly adjust pitch, which translates to adjusting speed, and that gives you the AOA control.
When you just start losing ability to hold AOA at AOAe, you’re at your current step ceiling. Burning more fuel is the only thing that will let you resume the climb while holding AOAe.
AOAe is a low single digit number of degrees unique to each aircraft type in clean configuration. You only need to learn that number once for each aircraft type. Maybe start with 4° (I need to give credit to A_Hippopotamus for that number, how do I do that here? - I’m a forum amateur).
I believe the step climb intends to be a good approximation of what is actually a smooth climb. You do it as a step due to air traffic congestion management. If you didn’t have that to worry about, you would (for the power setting limits) climb just on the edge of being able to hold that AOAe number.
The reason the real climb profile is smooth, is because you burn fuel, that is reduce weight continuously rather than in steps.
Far fetched? Problems?